When Kirk Haan gets a feeling, it’s probably best to listen to him. After a Week 3 loss to the Holy Rosary Raiders where Haan and his Lloydminster Comprehensive Barons couldn’t find any rhythm together, the Barons quarterback didn’t shy away when faced with the Bonnyville Voyaguers in Week 4.
In fact, he did quite the opposite and asked for the ball and the team’s confidence to be placed in his hands.
“I was feeling it, I told coach we have to pass lots because I’m feeling it and he trusted my judgement,” said Haan.
And did it ever pay off. With over 400 yards passing and six touchdowns, Haan led the Barons to a 51-19 victory over the Voyageurs, earning their third victory of the season and securing second place in the Wheatland Football League standings.
It was a game that the defence, which has been the source of strength for the Barons through the first half of the season, didn’t see the field until the Barons were already leading 14-0. And then Haan and his receivers simply went to work, carving out yard after yard as the Barons put up the their biggest score of the season.
And it was all because a player wanted a chance to prove he could be the leader of the team.
“He doesn’t lack confidence,” said Barons head coach Aaron Harper. “He’ll get out there and rip it even after he makes a mistake. He’ll throw it again, which can be great in a quarterback. It can be a little scary at points, but we love him and the guys love playing for him. Finally it all sort of clicked in Bonnyville.”
But despite a game with large numbers, Haan wants to keep things exactly how they are going now, sticking to the practice routine the Barons are used to. He credits the team stepping up to the next level because of the competition in this league and they answered back in a big way, dragging in every ball thrown in their direction, helping the quarterback put up some rather Peyton Manning-esk numbers. “Our offence really clicked, we worked really hard this past week on (our) pass game,” said Haan.
“Our offensive line was doing their job perfectly, our receivers caught everything. It was just a really good game.”
Even through struggles, Harper has maintained a positive atmosphere on the sidelines and allowed the Barons the opportunities to regroup after a mistake and try again. It’s why Haan, who has had two games where he tossed for under 100 yards, was allowed to go off throwing against Bonnyville in a game that was for second spot in the standings, and what could be a home field advantage game come playoffs.
“We say it all the time, one bad play isn’t going to make you, one good play isn’t going to make you,” said Harper. “What matters is the play that happens next or the game that happens next. Kirk is a great example. When he has a bad game or a rough game, the guys are right there to pick him back up.”
This week marks the last Division 1 games for the Barons as they host the St. Paul Lions. The two time defending Wheatland League champions are 2-2 coming into Friday’s game, but both victories have come against Division 2 opponents. So with the pressure on them to win their first Div. 1 game of the season, the Barons know they will be coming in fired up for the Week 5 meeting.
“They got us pretty good last year, but this year is a whole new game,” said Haan. “They’re young, but they will come firing off the ball hard, as I am sure they want to get after us.”
“They know how to win football games,” said Harper. “We’re just going to do what we do, run the ball, pass the ball, play good defence, take care of special teams and I think